Following a 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, the Winnipeg Jets have now earned at least one point in seven of their last nine games. In addition, the Jets have also won five of their previous seven games and have scored at least four goals during four of those five victories.
Heading into tonight’s contest, Winnipeg is just one point away from taking command of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The Jets are also set to welcome their recent trading partner the 21-28-11 Ottawa Senators. Back on Tuesday, Winnipeg acquired defenseman Dylan DeMelo from Ottawa in exchange for a 2020 third-round selection. If victorious tonight along with a Arizona Coyotes loss, the Jets would finally surge back into a playoff spot later tonight.
1) Dylan DeMelo Makes His Debut
After being acquired back on Tuesday, Dylan DeMelo is expected to make his Jets’ debut against his former team. For the 26-year-old defenseman, he’ll only have to change dressing rooms as he last played at home against the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Following Tuesday’s win over Los Angeles, coach Paul Maurice expressed his excitement about adding DeMelo to his blue line.
— Ken Wiebe (@WiebeAthletic) February 19, 2020
Through his 49 games with Ottawa this season, DeMelo averaged 19:55 minutes of TOI and could be featured in a similar role with Winnipeg. While Maurice hasn’t said who’ll be coming out of the lineup, the newest member of the Jets’ defensive group will likely replace either Sami Niku or Nathan Beaulieu. Until the Jets take the ice for their morning skate, we’ll likely just have to wait to see which pairing DeMelo ends up playing on.
2) Extremely Physical Matchup Once Again
So far this season, there have been very few teams who have been able to outhit the Jets through their 61 games this season. However, Ottawa outhit Winnipeg 23-16 during their previous meeting back on Feb. 8. The Senators have also generated the most hits (1,677) and the third-most hits/60 minutes (27.56) among all 31 teams in the league this season. As for the Jets, their squad has produced the tenth-most hits (1,372) and the ninth-most hits/60 minutes (22.28).
In particular, the Jets will need to remain cautious when both Brady Tkachuk and Mark Borowiecki are on the ice during tonight’s game. Currently, both Tkachuk (250) and Borowiecki (199) sit in the top ten in hits among all skaters throughout the entire league. So, both teams will likely need a lot of ice packs once the final horn sounds at the end of the third period.
3) Quiet Night For Laurent Brossoit
Coming into tonight’s series finale against the Senators, starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has started in each of the last five games, which is something he hasn’t done all season. While tonight’s starting goalie hasn’t been confirmed just yet, it seems almost certain that Laurent Brossoit will get the nod once again against Ottawa.
Earlier this month, Brossoit made 23 stops on just 25 shots during Winnipeg’s 5-2 victory over Ottawa. While the 26-year-old goaltender has posted a measly .888 SV% and a 3.48 GAA, he likely won’t be tested a lot later tonight as the Senators have recorded the sixth-worst goals per game average (2.60) since Jan. 1. As a result, this matchup should provide Brossoit with an excellent chance to earn his second win of the month and his sixth victory overall.
Following a pair of goals from Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor in the opening period, the Jets will begin the second frame with a 2-0 lead. During the second period, Winnipeg will continue their dominance over Ottawa by adding another pair of goals. Entering the final 20 minutes with a 4-1 lead, the Jets will keep their foot on the pedal and come away with a 5-1 win.